December 16, 1922 - December 26, 1944
William Arthur Flett, born in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia, was the son of Walter Wilson (wholesaler dealer of butter, eggs, cheese and poultry, plus a commission broker) and Edith Dorothy (nee Longmire) Flett of Halifax, Nova Scotia. He had one sister, Sarah Anne, 15. The family lived in Annapolis County and then Halifax County. The family was Church of England.
He was a temporary truck driver, and worked with his father as a labourer, plus was a student. He could speak English and French and knew Latin. He liked hockey, tennis, swimming, baseball and handball. He liked model building. He stood 5' 7 3/4" tall, weighing 165 pounds. He had blue eyes and brown hair, with a fair complexion.
In January 1942, he was considered to be 34 pounds overweight. "Needs a great deal of encouragement, lacks resourcefulness. Would be a good type otherwise. Seems quite stable. Wants pilot."
At ITS: "Just an average airman. Nothing outstanding. Having some difficulty with mathematics. Has quite an athletic record."
At EFTS: "A good student who has made good progress. A little weak on aerobatics. GIS: Ability average. Progress average. Fair student."
At SFTS: "Flying ability fair. Rough on controls. GIS low. Link Trainer: 84." He was granted his wings on October 9, 1942.
In April 1942, he was written up. "Disobeying in such manner as to show a wilful defiance of authority." He was given seven days confined to barracks. A month later, he was neglecting to obey daily routine orders, given three days confined to barracks. Both events were at No. 21 EFTS, Chatham, NB. On November 25, 1942, he broke away from parade without permission at 1400 hours and was absent tun 0830 hours on November 26, 1942. He was admonished. This transgression occurred in Bournemouth.
Between January 5, 1943 and February 14, 1943, he was at No. 17 (P) AFU. He only received 50/100 on character and leadership. "Keen and willing, but lacks initiative and slow to learn. Generally below average, his map reading and night flying are weak."
Between February 16, 1943 and April 20, 1943, he was at No. 55 OTU: "An average pilot. Should be an asset to a squadron with more pratice."
November 24, 1944: "Ferrying Hurricanes from Gibralter to Cairo. Service patrol, channel stop with 137 Squadron in England. Armed reece's and close support with 137 Squadron in France, Belgium and Holland." He had 220.05 hours of non-operational hours to training by day, 7:10 by night. Operational hours subsequent to training by day: 92.05 and by night: 2:40.
On December 26, 1944, W/O 'Bill' Flett was flying Red 2 in a formation of six aircraft to carry out an Armed Recce in the area of HOUFFALIZE-BULLANGE-ST VITH. The formation took off from B.78 Airfield at 0950 hours. PO J. Colton (Red 1) stated: "I was flying as Red 1 in a formation of six aircraft. We had been detailed to carry out an armed recce in the St. Vith area, and also to have a look at the Schleiden area. As there was considerable movement on the roads leading from Schleiden, most of the attacks were made in this area. W/) Flett (Red 2) reported transport on the main road running West from Schleiden. We immediately positioned ourselves and went in to attack. After completing my attack, I broke away port and glanced over my left shoulder in time to see Red 2 catch fire and go straight in, causing an explosion on the northern side of the road. I then proceeded to have a look at the aircraft and saw it was completely ablaze."
Flett had been with 137 Squadron for almost a year. The Squadron Leader wrote a letter to Mrs. Flett, describing the events. "He had gone down to attack enemy vehicles with his No. 1, when he was hit by flak. His No. 1 saw him going down from a height of about 200 feet. He proved himself to be a fearless and determined pilot. Bill was extremely popular with all on the squadron and will be greatly missed for his grand work and ever cheerful spirit."
By August 1950, it was determined that Flett's name be added to the Memorial to the Missing. See investigation reports in photos above.